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Poster: ridetheory Date: Jul 18, 2004 3:24pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Baby Incubators

The Baby Incubators were a strange combination of showmanship and real medical innovation. They saved many lives, and in order to get the funding for them, their creator presented them as a sideshow attraction.

Meyer Berger, again, May 22, 1939, NYT

"Mr. M. A. Couney, who runs the Incubator Show, plans to hold a reunion in the World of Tomorrow of the 8,000 or more incubator babies he has handled in the past 36 years. He told us, incidentally, that many great men were premature babies. He mentioned Ernest Renan, the religious historian; Charles R. Darwin, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Alfonse M. Louis de Lamartine, Victor Hugo and Sir Isaac Newton."

June 5, 1940

"Small fry, Dr. Couney confided at his Incubator Show yesterday, sometimes try his patience. On Sunday when the gate was most gratifying a small boy stood near the ticket box and shrilly warned women to stay out of the show. 'It's a fake, lady,' he kept shouting. 'They don't do no tricks. They just sleep.'

"Sometimes, Dr. Couney told us, adults ask astonishing questions. A heavy matron beamed at him the other day. 'Tell me, Doctor,' she said, 'When do the little dears give their next performance?' "

From an article written just before the Fair began, April 16, 1939, "STEP RIGHT THIS WAY AND SEE THE FAIR"

"The Panama-Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco in 1915... attracted pleasure seekers with a so-called Joy Zone... The chief attractions at first included the Couney Infant Incubators, advertised by live Hungarian storks walking about the lawns..."

This post was modified by ridetheory on 2004-07-18 22:24:35